When you study abroad, you find out that almost always, no matter where you are in the world, we all do the same things: eat, go to school, spend time with friends, and so on. But as you move through your new home, you’ll start to notice all sorts of small differences. Sometimes these are best part — and the things you’ll soonest forget when you return back home. We wanted to know what our 2020 First-Time Traveler Scholarship Recipient Jessica Durnell had to say about daily life in Italy.
There is no lunch at Italian schools, since school usually ends around the same time that other schools have lunch. Instead, there’s usually a small break that you can eat a snack. You can bring
something from home or go to a vending machine… although I’m not really sure if every Italian school has a vending machine, but every one I’ve been in, there has been one. Quite strange,
since in America it was basically illegal for a student to even touch the vending machine, haha.
There is no school buses in Italy. Instead, students take the public bus or the train. It’s fun to take the public bus, since there is no basic public transport in America unless you live in a big city –
you need a car. The downside of public transport when going to school, though, is that you have to pay for each trip to and from… and the cost can rack up quite quickly for only a few weeks.
Italian classrooms are also very different. In stead of how students move around every 45 minutes or so in America, the teachers move around instead. Where I went to school in Italy,
sometimes we could change buildings every other day since our school wasn’t big enough to hold everyone.
School gets out extremely early. Compared to American schools (and other schools around the world), Italian school gets out just before one o’clock. It starts at around 7:45 AM in the morning
(which I didn’t know until two months of going to school, I was perpetually late). It’s around the same time American schools start, probably later than most, my American public school started
15 minutes earlier, after all.
Greeting teachers when they walk in the morning is also very different. In America, I will say, we are not as respectful to each other. Even the teachers aren’t (well, it depends on the teacher,
some don’t care and others do, it’s exchangeable) too worried about saying good morning to everyone. In Italy, everyone says good morning and goodbye to the teacher when they come and
leave. And when the teacher walks into the classroom, everyone stands up from their seats until the teacher tells you to sit down. The students in my classroom only did this for a select few, so albeit it was something you were supposed to do, it didn’t seem that strict.
For some reason, when I ate pizza in America, whenever someone (or I) would fold their pizza over to eat it, someone would say that Italians would make fun of you if you did that in front of
them. When I went to Italy I was mortified when everyone folded their pizza over. Everything my friends from 5th grade had told me had been a lie (what a surprise).
Compared to America pizza, pizza is much thinner. It’s easy to eat a whole pizza, compared to the big thick stuff that is painfully American. I also got many questions about whether or not I put
pineapple on my pizza, which Italians see as a sin. I’m being serious. Every time I answered their question with no, I would hear a sigh of relief. When in reality I have never seen so many toppings that can go on pizza while I was in Italy. There was hotdogs and fries. You can put anything on a pizza. (Except pineapple).
Italians have their own cartoons, which is pretty obvious. I never watched TV though, I will admit. I grew up with tapes and DvDs in America instead of cable, so I’m not used to it. There is a
lot of America shows that are dubbed in italian that play on TV which I did recognize, and it’s rather amusing to see how the characters voices transferred over.
There’s anime on TV. Which surprised me and my American friends (and we were extremely jealous). One Piece, Detective Conan, and Dragon Ball; the only channel I know of that played
anime in America is Adult Swim, but I didn’t have cable, so I couldn’t watch anything anyways when those shows were airing. Plus I wasn’t even born yet. A lot of people here grew up
watching One Piece without even knowing what it was, which I think is really cool… and something I will forever be jealous over.